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Camps in Alabama now can re-open after coronavirus closures

The road to the cabins at Maranatha Camp in Scottsboro. Camp staff made the difficult decision back in March that they would not open up their camp for this summer.
The road to the cabins at Maranatha Camp in Scottsboro. Camp staff made the difficult decision back in March that they would not open up their camp for this summer.

Many in north Alabama opted to not open up to campers this summer.

Posted: May 22, 2020 10:54 PM
Updated: May 25, 2020 4:18 PM

It's a tale of two campgrounds in Alabama: ones that will be reopening this summer and those for which that option came too late. 

"This is one of those things where, rather than just be a specific area of the country or even a specific camp itself, it's across the board. It's across the nation and you can even say probably worldwide in camping," said Chase Epps, the executive directof of Maranatha Camp & Conference Center in Scottsboro.

The "thing" that stopped Epps and many other camp directors around north Alabama was "uncertainty." He said the Maranatha Camp staff usually starts planning for their summer camps about nine months out.

But when coronavirus started shifting things back in March, they had a tough decision to make.

"We're mourning the missed opportunity of having life change happen this summer. We believe if kids come out it's an interrupt, a welcome interruption to their regular life and it has an opportunity to shape and change their life in a new and unique way," said Epps.

On the business side, the loss of campers over the summer also means missing out on a lot of revenue. Maranatha makes about 50 percent of its revenue from hosting camp. The other half comes from hosting groups in its conference center and hotel. 

However, that is not fully predictable either. Epps said they've already had some groups pull out. But they have been able to retain some of their staff through assistance funding.

"We were able to bring a few back through the PPP loan that we were granted. And because of that, we've been able to do some improvements on camp and some work around here, but that's all up in June. So we go back to myself and two other full-time staff running the full facility," said Epps. 

Despite that reality for many camps, others like the YMCA's Camp Cha-La-Kee will welcome campers this summer, but only as a day camp, along with a number of other changes.

"Drop off and pick up will be completely different from in the past. No longer walking kids in with their parents and getting a quick tour of the camp. We're going to ask the parents to stay inside their car," said Huy Lu, the camp's executive director.

Kids will also be getting their temperature checked at drop off and after lunch. Additionally, certain activities, like using the swimming pool, won't be options this summer, in an effort to help establish social distancing.

The total number of campers on any given day will also be reduced and parents are asked to send bag lunches with their campers to limit the amount of times and the number of people who touch food at camp.

Lu said while things will be different, he hopes that everyone will still get a good experience while they navigate the new rules.

"We're going to constantly change and adapt to the situation and we're just going to deal with real-time results and make those decisions at the time," said Lu.

Back at Camp Maranatha, Epps said they recorded a series for their YouTube channel that will create the experience of a virtual camp. The first video drops on Tuesday after Memorial Day.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 21285

Reported Deaths: 353
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson482660
Shelby4615105
Trousdale13924
Rutherford109022
Sumner84345
Hamilton67015
Bledsoe6081
Williamson53210
Tipton4283
Putnam4285
Robertson4262
Lake4130
Wilson3828
Knox3565
Out of TN3394
Bedford2704
Montgomery2583
Rhea1970
Hardeman1920
Madison1742
Loudon1370
McMinn13614
Macon1193
Cheatham1140
Cumberland1111
Fayette1102
Dickson1070
Bradley1051
Blount893
Maury810
Washington750
Unassigned750
Sevier752
Coffee660
Wayne630
Gibson601
Sullivan602
Monroe592
Lauderdale561
Hickman540
Dyer490
Franklin491
Greene482
Anderson401
Marion371
DeKalb370
Grundy321
Hawkins312
Smith301
Hamblen302
Haywood302
Henry300
Marshall291
Jefferson280
Obion281
White280
Carroll271
Weakley260
Overton250
Meigs250
Lincoln250
Lawrence240
Warren220
Cocke200
Carter191
Morgan170
Campbell171
Cannon170
Jackson170
Crockett161
Roane160
Johnson150
Polk150
Henderson140
Humphreys131
Chester130
Perry130
Sequatchie130
Giles120
McNairy120
Fentress120
Hardin112
Scott110
Stewart100
Claiborne80
Houston80
Benton71
Grainger60
Clay60
Decatur50
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Moore30
Unicoi30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

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